AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc.; and NCTA - The Internet & Television Association, representing cable carriers such as Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc.

The issue of net neutrality has sparked intense debate in the USA since last April when FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump, announced that under his leadership the FCC would repeal landmark net neutrality rules created under President Obama in 2015. It bars providers from prioritizing some content over others and from blocking web traffic. It may also make it harder for the next generation of online services to compete if they have to pay up to be placed in a so-called internet fast lane. The longer-term ramifications of a world without net neutrality is what concerns proponents of a fair and open internet - issues like a threat to free flow of information and a hazard to speech rights.


The ending of net neutrality has been met with overwhelming popular opposition.

"I don't like the idea that someone like Amazon could pay more money and have more access to my customers", Black said, "I think that I wouldn't get as much business and you know that translates into jobs and sales".

For now, broadband providers insist they won't do anything that would harm the "internet experience" for consumers. The first would be protecting users from bias caused by internet providers, who would be able to offer faster services to companies that paid them more.

Last month, the Senate voted 52-47 in favor of keeping net neutrality, but the vote was mostly symbolic, as the final decision had to be passed through the Republican majority House of Representatives.


"Rules designed for the Ma Bell monopoly during the era of rotary phones were a poor fit for the greatest innovation of our time, the Internet".

So, what will the internet of today look like tomorrow? More than 20 states have filed lawsuits to stop the repeal, and a number of states have pushed legislation to enforce net neutrality within its borders. Those programs allow consumers to access certain sites and services without the data to and from them applying to any monthly caps they may have.

Martin said broadband providers probably won't mess with existing services like Netflix, as that could alienate consumers. Others, including the governors of Montana and NY, used executive orders to force net neutrality.


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